Patriots coach Bill Belichick held a conference call with reporters this afternoon (2:30 p.m.), and while he did not provide updates when asked about the team's injured players, here were a few other nuggets of note:
1) Team has settled in California. After playing in Seattle yesterday afternoon, the Patriots are now in California, where they'll spend the week leading into Sunday's game at Oakland. "We made the trip down to San Jose last night and settled back in at the hotel, and we'll go through a normal Monday here with the players and coaches," Belichick said. "It's a good set-up. We're ready to roll."
2) Reflecting on a few key moments. Recapping the 24-21 win over the Seahawks, Belichick said "the biggest thing was that we were able to make some plays in the fourth quarter in some critical situations that we really needed." Belichick also pointed to Ellis Hobbs's 55-yard kickoff return in the second quarter, which set up a 2-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson as the Patriots closed to 14-10. "That was a big answer to their 11-point lead," he said.
3) The glue holding the defense together. With so many moving parts on defense -- and new parts -- Belichick was asked if linebacker Mike Vrabel was the glue holding the unit together. Belichick responded by saying Vrabel was a big part of it, along with Richard Seymour and Brandon Meriweather. Those three players were on the field for all but three plays combined. "Those guys are involved with a lot of communication and adjustments we had to make, by nature of their position," he said. "They were really solid that way, especially Mike as the signal-caller. He's very good, probably as good anybody could possibly be in that situation with the number of things he has to handle."
4) No negative yardage in the running game. When asked about having LaMont Jordan back in the lineup, Belichick pointed out that Jordan ran hard, and then added that on 22 carries by running backs, none were stopped for negative yardage. "He was a big part of that, and so was Sammy [Morris] and Kevin [Faulk]," Belichick said. "It was good to have LaMont back there to be able to take some snaps and hits off those other guys."
5) Running backs make the grade in blitz pickup. In pointing out that the Seahawks blitzed about 67 percent of the time -- which is a lot -- Belichick credited the work of running backs Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk and LaMont Jordan in pass protection. "There were an awful lot of plays where the backs were involved in protection, and also the tight ends," he said, noting that Faulk and Morris had the bulk of the work. "There was a lot of contact. It was a very physical game for our running backs."
6) Responding to Benjamin Watson's penalty. Belichick was asked what he said, or might say, to tight end Benjamin Watson regarding his penalty for using the football as a prop. "It was the only penalty we had in the game, and that was one we didn't need to get," Belichick said. "It was unnecessary and we always try to eliminate the penalties that we have total control over, things like that -- false starts, kicking off out of bounds. Anything we can control, we don't want any of those penalties, so hopefully we don't have any more in the future."